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Contemporary painting and Indian politics
<b>Does M.F.Hussain deserve Raja Ravi Varma Award?</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Jun 6 2007, 12:26 AM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Jun 6 2007, 12:26 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->SwamyG, I know thats a terrible movie but that wasnt the point.
I know; I was just mentioning in the passing how a horrible movie it was. I knew about the nature of the movie well before hand. And my wife warned me it was awfully done. It was during a time when my family went to lots of animation movies. And I had to go and check it out. <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->We can choose to keep on protesting or we can start doing the same - in our terms. Perhaps Mr Chandra Mohan was only doing that ?
It does not have to be mutually exclusive. We can protest and can carry our own 'narrative' and 'propaganda' at the same time.
Just for completeness, I wish to clarify a bit what I meant by psychic (in the sense of inner psyche and not the currenty prevalent meaning of something extrasensory) and vital. In this sense the animation "Hanuman" was more psychic and comics "Ramayana Reborn" are more vital.

Sign of something affecting "soul" or the psychic being:

1. Tears without any reason or any sadness.
2. Feeling soft, mushy & warm in the heart region
3. Essential purity of emotion without any clinging, posessivenes or force.
4. A "childlike"joy, say when you feel giggling like a child.
5. When something hurts you, you feel sorrow instead of anger.
6. Getting moved by devotional songs or acts of kindness etc ( The "soul" or the psychic being is formed around the divine spark in each person, and is closest to divinity than all individualities.)

Sign of something affecting the prANa or the vital-being:

1. Forcefulness of attraction or dislike.
2. Any passion including anger, lust, fear.
3. Emotions of victory, bravery, conquest, philanthropy, saving the world etc.
4. Something which exhorts you to action.
5. Powerfulness of feeling or sensation.
6. Gaudy colours, intricate designs, vulgar opulence.
7. Penchant for prolonging emotional dramas.
8. Destruction, death, blood & gore (even for a good cause)
Naked Blair at centre of art show
A drawing which depicts Tony and Cherie Blair naked on the steps of 10 Downing Street is the centrepiece of the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition.
Now that Tony and Cherie Balir have been painted in nude and the painting displayed in an exhibition, can't people go ahead and start painting others in nude?
#64 is not relevant to this thread and will distract from the topic.

The key to understand the contemporary Indian painting movement is the following;

- Its not derivative. Meaning it is not an imitation of the modern Western art. MFH clearly says that and gives its origins in the Bombay school of painting.
- Its main goal is to prevent Hindu revivalist painting in India. MFH in his Frontline interview lays out the goals and how and what they achieved. Six artists in six years stopped the whole revivaist school. They amde it uncool to paint Ravi Varma style of paintings. They did this by adopting the 'modern' idiom for their paintings. By this device they got the support of the liberals and the Well off Modern Indians as these folks felt they are furthering the 'Modernization ' of India from traditional Bharat.

- While the artists might be of different religions that is a secondary issue. The prime goal is to stop the revivalism in Hindu art. Hence all those 'modern' imagery being invoked and pushed.

To understand MFH one needs to understand the history of Telengana region from antiquity, well at least Mauryan times. just before 1947 Independence a political consciousness was being aroused in the people of Telengana in the rural areas. This found expression in Hindu revivalism in the arts and crafts of the rural areas. MFH must have noticed the impact when the rural takes up revivalism it could mean the end of "force of History'. That could also be a driver for his zeal in stopping the revivalist school of Ravi Varma.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->To understand MFH one needs to understand the history of Telengana region from antiquity<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Telengana was crucial from antiquity since Mauryan times. It was the defeat of the Kakatiyas that established the Muslim presence in South India. Since then the area was under Bahmani, Golkonda, Mughal and Nizam rule. In early part of the 20th century a revival movement can be seen in the rural areas with the rebuilding of old temples etc. MFH cant be insulated from or ignorant of that movement.
So his taking up the suppression of the revival school was his own crusade or jihad. <!--emo&Wink--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' /><!--endemo--> Or deeksha <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

He did not emerge self born or full formed suddenly on the Indian scene.
A collection of Contemporary Indian Art for auction in London to support Tehelka.

Please see the artists and their collaborators! Its bigger than we think.

Thanks, ramana

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Jun 9 2007, 12:48 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Jun 9 2007, 12:48 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Because he is from that region

Which is why I had asked 'why Telangana'. You seem mistaken. He is not from Telangana or even AP. Although there is a museum dedicated to his "arts" in Jubilee Hills Hyderabad - beyond that he has nothing from Telangana.

Here is from his profile:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Born in 1915 at <b>Pandharpur in Maharashtra</b>; Hussain comes from a traditional Muslim background. As a child, Hussain learnt the art of calligraphy and loved to read poetries while <b>he resided with his uncle in Baroda</b>. After painting many countryside landscapes and completing <b>his schooling in Indore</b>, Hussain decided to <b>move to Mumbai to make his career in art</b>. He joined the J.J. school of arts and started to earn his living by painting billboards for feature films.

In 1947, Hussain won an award for his paintings at the annual exhibition of the Bombay art society and this marked the beginning of a vibrant colorful career ahead waiting for this art maestro. Hussain did a lot of art experimentation in his early years by blending different ethnic and mythological themes to create luminous art forms. 

His creativity, style and innovation in paintings have made him reach the acme in Indian art. F.N. Souza, a member of The Progressive Artist's Group, which was formed to give new dimensions to Indian art, invited Hussain to become a member of it in 1948. By 1955 Hussain went on to become one of the foremost artists in India and was awarded the grand ‘Padma Shri’.

appended to the previous post:

This nothing-turned-into-bigthing, called Chandramohan, even he is not from Telangana per your idea.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->While Chandramohan, an art student at M S University in Vadodara, was in jail and artists, his fellow students were protesting for his early release in Gujarat -his parents in <b>Madanpalli village in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district</b> remain worried, as they have no clue about their son’s safety.
I stand corrected and should have googled.

Anyway what is MFH link to Hyderabad?
to my knowledge none, though he is a frequent visitor to Hyderabad, and some fans of his have a "Cine Museum of MFH" in Jubilee Hills. More than a decade back, I had seen him accidentally in a newspaper stall at Panjagutta, recognizing the criminal by his barefeet which is his trademark.
<span style='color:red'>UN Secretary General of Congress Party writes...</span>

Our Stories
By Shashi Tharoor

IT is not always that I find myself truly regretting an event I have had to miss because of pressing official commitments elsewhere, but recently my "regrets" at turning down an invitation were not just genuine, they were heartfelt. The event in question was the inauguration of an exhibition in the small Massachusetts town of Peabody — an exhibition of M.F. Husain's Mahabharata paintings. The irony of this celebration in America, at a time when Husain has been hounded from his own country by the threats of Hindutva chauvinists, did not escape me. So I was all the more sorry to miss this opportunity to pay him tribute, and show him solidarity.

Rich diversity

That M.F. Husain, pre-eminent modern Indian artist, and one of the country's best-known Muslims, should have derived inspiration from an ancient Hindu epic is not in itself surprising. Husain has always felt free to find his images and symbols in the cultural heterogeneity of his native land, and the Mahabharata, unlike its sacred twin, the Ramayana, is essentially a secular epic. It also occupies a unique place in the Indian national consciousness, one that lends itself remarkably well to artistic reinvention. The epic allowed Husain to take characters and images that are laden with epic resonance, and to <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>alter and shape them to paint a contemporary canvas. </span>

As a novelist who did something similar in my own The Great Indian Novel, I would argue that the Mahabharata is an ideal vehicle for a creative artist's efforts to affirm and enhance an Indian cultural identity, not as a closed or self-limiting construct, but as a reflection of the pluralism, diversity and openness of India's kaleidoscopic culture. The first of Husain's paintings in this series were created in 1971, a time of great turbulence in India, with the looming crisis over refugees from Bangladesh that would lead, by year's end, to war with Pakistan. What Husain did in 1971 (and again in later paintings) was to recall, through images starkly familiar to Mahabharata-conscious Indians, the kinds of stories Indian society tells about itself. There are images of battle and conflict, neighing horses and howling elephants caught up in the confusion of Kurukshetra, bloodshed and terror in every brushstroke; but there is also the timeless image of Ganapathi the scribe, merging in Husain's imagination with the sage Ved Vyasa, the epic's author, setting down the transcendent wisdom of the epic that would speak across the ages to the Indians of Husain's time.

In much of Husain's work, Hindu myths and epic narratives both contribute to and reflect the national consciousness that his own creativity has done so much to influence. In reiterating the epic, the artist and his audience both reaffirm the shaping of their own cultural identity. This is an important statement for Husain to make as a Muslim and an Indian: he is staking his claim to a heritage that some chauvinist Hindus have sought to deny to those not of their own persuasion. In recent years these zealots have sought to challenge Husain's right to use Hindu imagery, attacking exhibitions in which he has depicted nude goddesses, denouncing him for sacrilege in his borrowings from the epics. The vast majority of India's art-lovers and intellectuals have rallied to his defence — and with the Mahabharata they have rightly asserted that Husain has no case to answer. For, there is nothing restrictive or self-limiting about the Indian identity the Mahabharata asserts: it is large, <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>eclectic and flexible, containing multitudes.</span>

Right time

This is why I have been particularly happy to add my name to the petition circulated by many of our country's leading artists and writers, asking the President to confer upon Husain the highest award of the land, the Bharat Ratna. A number of creative artists have already been so honoured: Satyajit Ray, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Ravi Shankar, Bismillah Khan, Lata Mangeshkar. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Husain unarguably belongs in this illustrious company.</span> <!--emo&:drool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/drool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='drool.gif' /><!--endemo--> The petition argues that Husain's "life and work are beginning to serve as an allegory for the changing modalities of the secular in modern India — and the challenges that the narrative of the nation holds for many of us. This is the opportune and crucial time to honour him for his dedication and courage to the cultural renaissance of his beloved country."

Continued relevance

Looking at the Mahabharata-inspired work in this exhibition, it seems to me that Husain is simultaneously honouring and appropriating the epic. If there is a message to the work that features in this exhibition, it would be that of the continued relevance of the stories, issues and images he has derived from the Mahabharata. That, in turn, is a twofold message: first, of the need to re-examine the received wisdom of the epic in today's India, to question the certitudes, to acknowledge the weight of the past and face its place in the present; and second, to do so through a reassertion of the epic's dharma, defined not as religion but as the whole complex of values and standards — some derived from myth and tradition, some derived from our history — by which India and Indians must live. In offering his vision of the Mahabharata to India and the world, Husain has paid a fundamental tribute to his own civilisation, one which he has, through his reinvention of the past and his reimagining of the present, immeasurably enriched.

<span style='color:red'>He deserves the Bharat Ratna. </span>
<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

What are the origins of MF Hussain (please dont hide his hussain in MFH. Let the Hussain be evident as it is)?
What shaped his 'artist'?
Is modernism the objective or just a garb for him?
Let us begin one by one.

from his profile posted above:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hussain comes from a traditional Muslim background. As a child, Hussain learnt the art of calligraphy and loved to read poetries

For the first about 22 years of his life, this is what he was - a traditional Muslim artist. A traditional islamic up-bringing, and even the art he learnt while growing up was traditional islamic art - the (persian/arabic?) calligraphy - which is the outer most extent of art-form pure Islam would allow.

By 22 of age, the artist in him must be already grown up! All he can do now is to improve, modify, adjust, adapt, learn new styles, etc. But the core of the artist is already formed - that would remain - the traditional muslim. And that would inevitably come from the traditional Islamic upbringing. And that <b>does </b>show in his 'art' - he never spent his scrawl-skills on Muhammed's family or of his own, or in portraits of Muslim shayars like Galib, Meer, or of Sultan.

Before we move on, let us take a note of this:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->After painting many countryside landscapes and completing his schooling in Indore, Hussain .... joined the J.J. school of arts
We shall come back to Sir J J School of ARts, Mumbai, later in my post.

So, when did the modernism kick in? Was Hussain the founding father of Indian art modernism - or of the so called Bombay school?

He did not! That credit goes to another nudist painter - Francis Newton SOUZA (12 April 1924 - 28 March 2002)!!

F.N. Souza, a member of The Progressive Artist's Group, which was formed to give new dimensions to Indian art, invited Hussain to become a member of it in 1948.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Souza himself was a Christian, like Hussain a muslim, and a "devoted and traditional one"! Read his eulogy:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This is to let you know with profound sadness that our dearest friend and
most cherished artist Francis Newton Souza passed away peacefully and
painlessly on Thursday 28th March 2002, on Maundy Thursday in the evening before Good Friday, in Bombay, India, of a sudden heart attack. He would have turned 78 on April 12.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Souza's passing into infinity came miraculously with the Holy Resurrection on Good Friday. The burial was held intimately at Bombay's Sewrie Chapel and Cemetery at 11 a.m. on on Holy Saturday, the 30th March.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Francis was a very special and evolved soul, and this timing of his sacred
journey is most appropriate. He was held lovingly in the arms of Christ
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Souza's final painting on Earth was a magnificent Head of Christ, done, amazingly, just a few days earlier this March.

nude paintings were also a halmark of this chap, he attempted Hindu themes, though did not acheive so much success as Hussain.

"Christ" by Souza:
<img src='http://www.srimatilal.com/souza/pictures/christ.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

and "Shakti":
<img src='http://www.srimatilal.com/souza/pictures/shakti.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

and "Blue Godess":
<img src='http://www.srimatilal.com/souza/pictures/blue_goddess.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

This is clear from the above paintings and those of Hussain, that their hypocracy about 'modernism' and the so called 'new art' has spared the themes and figures of Christian and Muslim traditions, and have targetted only Hindus'.

And yes sir! They have hidden this in the name of 'modernism', and we are lapping it up, but let me tell you where they are coming from - christoIslamoSikooloCommunism, plain and simple. The name of modernism - that is only a fatigue they use to receive acceptability - but rather than marvelling at their fake disguise, let us rather expose their fake modernism.

Now, let us talk about this one - "6 artists stopped the Hindu art revivalism".

Nothing but their tall fancy. Sure, this is what they WANTED, but they miserably failed. Do you think they acheived anything? Howmany do you think have even seen the crap they have painted?

On the contrary, let us look at the Hindu art revival.

Do you know who was a long-time assistant artist, secratary, partner in a press, and associate of Sri Raja Ravi Verma?

take a guess (or google)

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who at a young age attended the same school which the above two crapists later attended - the famous Sir J J school of arts, Bombay, and then proceeded to join Raja Ravi Verma in south and assisted him in his work. With inspirations from the Legend, he realized that the art is changing, and the new modes of influencing people are arriving at the scene.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->While watching a movie called "The Life of Christ", he realized that Indian Gods and Godesses and narratives must more than the canvas, capture the screen.  Screen is what will influence people more than canvas ever will!  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Phalke, who will soon be knows as Dadasaheb, went to Germany, which was the technology hub at the advent of last century in cinematography, stayed there for some time, and brought the technology to India, and made some superhit movies over the next few years. (Ravi Verma was dead 7 years before the first Phalke movie was actually released.)

Raja Harishchandra (1913)
Shri Krishna Janma (1918)
Kaliya Mardan (1919)
Setu Bandhan (1923)
Ganga Avataran (1937)

That, revived the Hindu Art in a different format. Transformed revivalism from chitrakala to chitra-pat-kala or chala-chitra-kala. Even the talkies were called Kala-Mandirs.

And soon - Marathi, Bangla, Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada cinema leaders emerged and the PuraNas reached every household in the next 3 decades!!!

Influence behind this? The same revivalist - Raja Ravi Verma!! Hussain-wussain, Souza-pisouza ever had that impact?

Let us not fall for their propoganda and recognize what is behind their "art" - not modernism - but christoIslamoSeculoCommunism.
Also, if we are interested in understanding the currents of Hindu-revivalism in the complete context, then we must read the 'manifesto of Hindu revivalism' - a great work aptly titles as "Hindu!", written in 1930s by Rashtra-kavi Sri Maithili Sharana Gupt. Don't know if we can find it online.

This work explores all the dimensions and priorities of Hindu revivalist movement that was going on in arts and literature, but also in social sphere. (The counter-current in the Hindi literary world was being spearheaded by an equally brilliant scholar Rahul Sankrityayana with others. However RS was very respectful to the Indic traditions - a true modernist in that sense, unlike the fake ones we see today.)
Is there a copy of shri MS Gupt's work on the web?
Book review: ANTI HINDUS of Prafull Goradia

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><img src='http://www.prafullgoradia.com/images/husain.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Anti Hindus has been an attempt by Prafull Goradia to highlight the contempt towards the Hindu ethos that prevails amongst the intelligentsia in India.

Anti-Hindus, Prafull Goradia says, consists of sadists, like painter Maqbool Fida Hussain, who harbour contempt for the Hindus; as well as masochists, like S. Gopal, who derive gratification by flagellating their own people.

Anti Hindus talks in detail about M F Hussain's paintings and draws a comparison between Hindu and Muslim subjects. Ironically, Muslim and Christian subjects have been portrayed as fully clothed decent people while Hindu subjects have been dealt in an embarrassing manner in his paintings.

To make the readers fully aware of the corrupt ideas of Hussain, Anti Hindus has 32 colour photographs of his paintings that describe him as a sexually perverse person whose revolting paintings of Hindu Goddesses and women copulating with animals are bound to throw any normal person into a state of frenzy.

There can be no greater perversity than shown by the portrayal of deities in union with animals in Hussain's paintings and also the anti-Hindu features written by Hindus themselves, Goradia writes. Men like Hussain were sadistic in drawing satisfaction by hurting the sentiments of Hindus, Goradia feels.

Anti-Hindus also focuses on how Gandhi, a devout Hindu, slowly started getting more and more anti-Hindu as his public life progressed. Goradia feels that Gandhi was so obsessed by the belief of Hindu-Muslim unity that he was ready to sacrifice or sell out Hindu interests, Hindu honour and Hindu blood.

Anti-Hindus further describes India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru as an anti-Hindu. The book talks about how Nehru, being Gandhi's favourite, was chosen over Sardar Patel as the Congress president in 1946. In fact, none of the members of the provincial committee had voted for Nehru for the post. So Nehru was a leader without any followers at that point of time. Afraid of Hindu nationalism and looking around for allies, he soon found support in the Muslims who had not emigrated to Pakistan. Internationally then, the Third World was largely pro-Soviet, one whose leader was Nehru. So at home, the communists sided with Nehru making him a pro-Muslim, a pro-communist and an anti-Hindu.

In this manner, Anti Hindus, packed with various news paper articles, writings, excerpts from books and photographs tries to do justice to the analysis of the prevaling anti-Hindu sentiments in India.

Delivery within India INR 559.00


Sri Aurobindo saw a volume containing Cezanne's paintings and one of the painters of the 20th century representing the most modern trend of the artistic movement in Europe.

He found Cezanne "remarkable" in his portraits, all of them were "fine" and "showed power".

In the evening he said he liked Matisse also. But he found "three things general about modern art: l. Ugliness. 2. Vulgarity or coarseness. 3. Absurdity".

Sri Aurobindo : In their ''nude" studies it is a very low sexuality which they bring out. They call it "Life" ! One can hardly agree. Even in the ugliest corner of life there is something fine and even beautiful that saves it. This art explains why France and Europe have gone down.

When these artists go further in the application of their theories than they become absurd.

And what they mean by ''inner" truth of the object is most often the "subconscient" or "lower vital". There is no objection to suppressing the non-essentials of a form in a work of art. In fact all great artists do it. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>But the work that you produce must have aesthetic appeal.</span>

This is when I referred again to Ashok Ji's explaination of Vital, in context of Sri Aurobindo. Ashokji, you had explained vital as - prANa/prANamaya. what is 'lower' (and 'upper') in his terminology?

prANa-shakti or vital can be put to good use or bad use. Its support is needed to accomplish anything in life. Without its support life becomes listless, depressed etc. Even for spiritual accomplishments vital support is needed.

We all can discern that we have multiple individualities in us. Otherwise phrases like "what came over me" wouldn't be possible. We all know that at certain times we behave ways which seems so foreign to us at other times. This is because of the interplay of distinct individualities in us. Primarily we have to deal with 4 individualities: the physical (anna-maya), the vital (prANa-maya), the mental (mano-maya) and psychic/soul (kAraNa-sharIra).

When all these individualities are in accord we feel powered, wonderful etc. Otherwise we feel discord, distress, worries etc. This is because all these have their own concerns, their own ideas, agendas etc. Each wants to run the whole being its own way.

In normal human condition, physical is driven by the vital, and vital should be under control of mental, and all these under the psychic/soul. But in most people the vital/prANa is the most disturbed and disturbing. It is the most vehement and insistent on its own ideas. It can easily cloud the mind and throw it in confusion. Even when mental is strong and tries to wrest control the vital can give a nasty fight. And since vital controls the drive, the energy part of our being, it holds a trump card. If mental objects or insists too much, the vital can throw a fit, and refuse its sanction. When that happens we feel lethargic, devoid of energy, listless and depressed. All kinds of depression are caused by vital being's tantrums.

The soul or psychic-being in us, which is closest to divinity, as it is formed around the divine spark in each being, is our real individuality. This is the individuality that persists and develops through several lifetimes. The vital, physical and mental get dissolved at the end of each lifetime and are recreated at new birth, with some input from the soul, and the physical cicumstances, parents condition and education etc. In most people the soul or psychic being is undeveloped as a full scale individuality. Even where it is developed, it is more often like a child. It takes multiple lifetimes for this individuality to perfect itself to fully express the potential divinity in everyone.

Normally the psychic-being/soul is not in charge of our day to day life, vital or mental are. Only on rare occasions psychic being comes out forward and makes a choice for us, and we recall those moments as the "soulful" moments of our lives. But when the psychic-being/soul in us becomes active and takes its due position as the master of the house, then all other quarreling individualities like vital and mental quiet down. This is a great spiritual feat. Recall the imagery where Sri KrishNa (the soul) becomes the charioteer and guide, while Arjuna (mental & vital) follows it lead, and moves the chariot (physical) for spiritual battle, then victory becomes inevitable.

When the soul/psychic-being takes charge of the affairs, a tremendous harmony is established in the whole being. All the disturbances caused by the vital, mental and their quarrels cease. Sri Aurobindo calls this the "sunlit path", because spiritual practices become joyous when soul is in charge. But when one has to do them with vital/mental then those practices are hard, a tapasyA, and take long to fructify and one has to go through lot of troubles and difficulties. To make soul come forward and take charge of the whole being, one needs to first find it in oneself. This is most easily accomplished through devotion and the heart region is proper place in the body for this concentration. Recall here the "anguShTha-mAtra puruSho hiraNmayo" ( the golden being of the size of a thumb in the heart ) that upanishads talk about.

Vital-being has 5 parts:

(i) mental-vital: (in the throat to heart region) This is how the vital being makes contact with the mind, gives to its passions the body of thought and ideas, and also clouds or overpowers the mind through those thoughts and ideas.

(ii) emotional-vital : (in the heart region) This is how vital-being expresses its emotional feelings, such as emotional love, joy, sorrow, hatred etc. This is separate from the seat of unemotional pure love and Ananda that the soul is which is also located in the heart region but behind and deeper.

(iii) central-vital: (in the heart to navel region) This is the seat of stronger vital longings, such as ambition, pride, control, name-fame, fear, anger, attractions-repulsions, desires & passions etc. This is dynamic, sensational and passionate.

(iv) lower-vital: (below the navel) preoccupied with smaller desires and feelings, such as desire for food, physical comfort, sexual-desire, petty desires and likes and dislikes.

(v) Physical vital: ( The nervous envelope) This is how the vital-being makes contact with the physical body.

Higher vital is the name for the duo of mental-vital and emotional vital.

When the vital being is unregenerate, i.e. it is vehement in its own passions, desires, wants etc, then it is a great hindrance. But when it gets reformed and submits to soul, it becomes a great help, a great warrior on the spiritual path and indispensable for achieveing anything even in spiritual domain.
Also the term "subconscient" as used by Sri Aurobindo to critique the modern-art should not be confused with Freud's usage of the term.

The layers of consciousness as enunciated by Sri Aurobindo are in ascending order:

(i) inconscient
(ii) subconscient
(iii) mind ( normal waking consciousness)
(iv) subliminal (mostly in dreams, but can also be seen in waking by adepts)
(v) higher mind (first knowledge on the mental level of the Self, the one self everywhere.
(vi) illumined mind ( An inwardly visible downpour of diffuse "light" manifests here.)
(vii) intuitive mind ( Truthful intuitions come as visible "lightnings". This becomes possible only after mind's self-will or ego has been completely silenced, and the yogi has surrendered to the divine will. )

(viii) overmind ( The level of great-Gods or cosmic-Gods. Here the "lightinings" of the intuitive mind become so numerous as to make a continuum. And towards the upper reaches of overmind, all these waves of lightnings merge into a single whiteness. All the great personalities/aspects of the Divine, the various Gods belong to this level, where they appear as individuals but are still unified as aspects of one Truth. In that sense they are truth but don't represent the whole-truth, but are in contact with it. Great Divine-personalities like Krishna, Shiva, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, Durga etc belong to this realm).

(ix) supermind (Above the overmind, is the realm of absolute-Truth consciousness )

P.S. Regarding Gods:

The Overmind level is the true level of Cosmic-Gods with distinct personalities and cosmic consciousnesses. But there are many lower level beings that try to pass themselves off as "gods". Especially many vital-beings love to be called gods and worshipped as such. It makes their vital tendencies puff up with vital pride. One easy way to discern them is from the demands they put on, which will have a strong vital coloring, such as vehemence, passions, insistence, wrath etc. Unfortunately many such vital beings try to pass themselves off as established Gods/Goddesses on unsuspecting people. Mother had mentioned that she knew many such "kali-s", who were mainly vital-beings and not at all the same as the Cosmic-Goddess Mahakali.

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